Kingscliff ranked among top 10 seachange towns in Australia

Kingscliff is officially on the map after being ranked number four in a list of top 10 seachange towns, ahead of Byron Bay located to the south, and Port Douglas in Far North Queensland.

Kingscliff_090816_640 Photo: © courtesy Tweed Shire Council

Another local Northern Rivers community, Lennox Head, located between Byron Bay and Ballina, came in at number seven.

‘Trading Places –the Best Australian Seachange Towns 2016’ features in Melbourne-based national online newspaper The New Daily.

The results were:
1. Noosa Heads, Queensland (43.25 points)
2. Terrigal, New South Wales (42.25)
3. Warrnambool, Victoria (41)
4. Kingscliff, New South Wales (40.5)
5. Byron Bay, New South Wales (40)
6. Port Douglas, Queensland (40)
7. Lennox Head, New South Wales (39)
8. Busselton, Western Australia (38.75)
9. Albany, Western Australia (38.5)
10. Geraldton, Western Australia (38.5)

Two expert consultants – a town planner and an urban geographer – weighed up the merits of large regional hubs or hidden coastal gems across Australia located close to a capital city.

(Big Volcano ed. note: We’re not quite sure how Port Douglas made it in that case, being more than 1700 klm from the state capital – Brisbane.  Maybe they were thinking of Cairns.)

Anyway, they whittled down the options using 11 criteria, including beach quality, house prices, infrastructure, climate and job prospects.

Mayor of Tweed, Councillor Katie Milne, was not surprised by Kingscliff’s appeal as a seachange destination.  “Kingscliff is much-loved by locals, who are passionate about preserving the natural environment as well as the laid-back and friendly nature of the town,” she said.

According to the article: “Residents describe the town as having the ‘best of both worlds’: a peaceful, picturesque community that’s just a 15-minute drive to Gold Coast Airport, and a 90-minute trip to Brisbane.”

“It boasts several stunning beaches cradled between headlands, and luscious rainforests on its doorstep.

“Foodies take note: the main street offers tantalising cafes and restaurants, and the Kingscliff markets brim with gourmet food and fresh local produce, as well as crafts, art and fashion.”

To view the article and watch a video on how the selections were made, go to

Courtesy Tweed Shire Council Newsroom

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See also: Big Volcano Visitor Map, Big Volcano towns : Kingscliff, Byron Bay, Ballina and Lennox Head.


Introduction to Alstonville, New South Wales.

Located on the Bruxner Highway about half way between Lismore and Ballina, many visitors to the Northern Rivers region make a day trip to the Alstonville Plateau to take in the stunning views, and to visit popular local attractions like Amaze ‘n’ Place, Summerland House with No Steps and Teven Golf Course.

Photo: Big Scrub remnant, Booyung Nature Reserve © Big Volcano Tourism

Atop the rich krasnosem soils which previously supported the “Big Scrub”, Alstonville and Wollongbar are communities serving a thriving agricultural industry and workers who commute to Lismore and Ballina.

In addition to the more conventional dairy and beef farming, macadamia orchards abound in the smaller villages, while bananas, peanuts, pawpaws, pineapples and other exotic and subtropical fruits are being successfully grown.

Motor Inns, B&Bs and farmstays are the primary accommodations available on the plateau, and in the smaller settlements like Tintenbar and Teven, which also boasts an excellent golf course.

A variety of day tours, river cruises and activities are available at Ballina.

Read more here: Alstonville, Wollongbar, NSW 2477

Overcome jet lag in Australia

Overcome jet lag from Europe or the Americas, with a short stay in the Northern Rivers – Gold Coast region of Australia.

Yes, we get it.  We’re a long way away from where you are, and the flights are sooooo long and tiring, and you don’t have much time and you want to SEE EVERYTHING – right now!

But wait just a minute.

If you can, try to add on a day or two at the beginning or end of your great Aussie adventure, to relax and recover from the flight, or to have enough time to go through your departure checklists and schedule in a relaxed mood, and maybe even catch up on those “Aussie moments” you might have missed elsewhere. 

With two international airports; Brisbane International Airport (BNE) and Gold Coast Airport (OOL), serving Asia, the UK, Europe, and the Americas, our region is a great place for visitors who want to relax before flying out, and for inbound visitors to have a day or two to recover from jetlag ahead of their forward travel in Australia.

There’s lots you can do to get acclimatised after your long flight, or catch up on before your leave. DSC_1381_LyreBirdWalk_a

  • Laze on any one of the hundred or so beaches from Ballina in the south, all the way to Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast in the north.
  • Take a personalised half day or full day hinterland World Heritage rainforest tour complete with delicious treats and traditional Aussie BBQ lunch (check out our Day Tours directory.)
  • Go alfresco dining and people watching at any one of the number of “Eat Streets” in the region.
  • Catch up on gifts and souvenirs (and post them to yourself so they don’t add to luggage weight), or buy that essential must have you left at home.  With every kind of retail therapy imaginable; from shopping centres and outlet shopping offering boutique and luxury brands, through to Australian designers, arts and crafts, plus Farmers Markets and Weekend Monthly Markets, you’re sure to find what you want.
  • Or how about some real “pamper me” beauty therapy, day spa, massage and energy re-alignments.
  • Meet the locals you missed seeing on your travels, or get acquainted with Australia’s unique native animals at a wildlife park (we recommend Fleays Wildlife Park at West Burleigh Heads).
  • You didn’t get to Bondi Beach in Sydney?  Well, in that case, go for a swim or learn to surf at the almost equally famous Coolangatta Beach on the Gold Coast or Main Beach in Byron Bay.  Odds on, you’ll be standing up by the end of your (first) lesson.
  • If surfing doesn’t appeal, there’s always a coastal kayak tour and paddle with the dolphins, and whales in season.
  • Or if you prefer something more tranquil, try an estuary/creek paddle tour and experience the scenery from a different view.
  • Or you can do nothing at all and just chill out on the balcony of your apartment overlooking the beach or river
  • Or retreat to the hinterland and enjoy the serenity of Australia’s rainforest accommodation options (where they probably won’t even have mobile phone access.  How’s that for peace and quiet?)

Did we miss anything you’ve discovered visiting this region?  Why not let us know via our Facebook or Twitter channel.

Tweed Regional Gallery popular these holidays

Thousands of holiday makers took the opportunity to visit Tweed Regional Gallery and the Margaret Olley Art Centre as attendances spiked at the Gallery during the Christmas and New Year period. 20141008_141243_248

Over 7000 people attended the Gallery during the three weeks from 17 December to 4 January, more than doubling attendances to the Murwillumbah-based gallery during the corresponding period the previous year.

“It was our first Christmas since the opening of the Margaret Olley Art Centre (MOAC) in March and the influx of visitors was amazing,” Gallery Director Susi Muddiman said.

Attendances peaked at just over 3000 people during the first week of January, replicating levels experienced during the first few weeks after MOAC opened.

Miss Muddiman attributed the recent high attendances to a flow of visitors into the region for Christmas holiday, as well as a new feature exhibition in MOAC.

The Yellow Room exhibition celebrates the late artist’s “sanctuary” and favourite room in her Sydney home.

The Yellow Room is one of the rooms featured in the permanent MOAC exhibition, which includes an exact recreation of iconic sections of the iconic painter’s Duxford Street house in Paddington.

“While MOAC is a permanent attraction in Tweed Regional Gallery, special temporary exhibitions will be featured within MOAC to celebrate particular aspects of the artist and her works,” Ms Muddiman said.

The Yellow Room: Margaret Olley is on display until 15 March 2015.

TSC Media Release, Thursday 8 January, 2015

See more about the TRG at Big Volcano.

P.S.  If you haven’t been to the gallery yet, you should, especially to see the MOAC “Yellow Room” display before it finishes in March.

Been there, Seen that. Movies shot here

So the 2014 film award season is upon us, and Huff Post Travel just did a cutesy piece on location settings for some of this year’s Oscar contenders.

Which got me thinking about films shot in our neck of the woods.

Rural view

Ballina beach view

So here’s a quick roll call;

Everyone’s favourite ABBA revival movie: Muriel’s Wedding (1994), had Rainbow Bay, Point Danger and Tugun standing in for Porpoise Spit.

And in 2009, local director Belinda Chayko, filmed Lou (2010), which starred one of the latest of the Doctors Who, John Hurt, entirely on location in the Tweed.

Although, apart from the promotional poster, you’d really need to be a local to realise it, as the director and editor/s did a great job of carefully avoiding including the most distinctive feature of the valley in any shot.

But sharp eyed locals would recognise the Surfside Buslines beach bus route scene being Clothiers Creek Road, as it trundled past the Nunderi turnoff, as well upteen shots with the McPherson Ranges, Springbrook National Park and The Cougals outlined in the background, in other scenes.

Coolangatta Gold (1984), which actually spawned the contest named after it, rather than the other way round, was shot at, funnily enough, Coolangatta and other locations on the Gold Coast.   >> Coolangatta Gold 2013.

And as far a TV goes, well, that list is getting a good work out, with the Brit “reality” favourite; “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here“, being shot on a property located a short drive from Murwillumbah since 2002.

Forays into the local wilds usually include Crams Farm, which also featured recently, along with the usual selection of local villages like Tyalgum, with Rachel Griffiths, who starred in the recent “Camp” TV series (2013 NBC), before she got called up to play in the current Tom Hanks hit “Saving Mr Banks“.

Speaking of Muriel alumni, PJ Hogan’s “Mental” (2012), with Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber, had location shooting in and around Ballina, not to mention a climb of Mt Warning.  PJ must like his old stomping ground.

But then, what’s not to like?

Great scenery and locations, oodles of local talent to call on, close to two international airports: Brisbane and Gold Coast, and of course, being less than 90 minutes drive south of Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, is a bit of help too.

And while local organisations and groups (below) are doing their best to raise the profile of the region, it also doesn’t hurt when celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fly into Byron for the day (January 2014), and enjoy some quality fun time with the kids at local attractions like Byron Circus Arts, and a meal in town later, before decamping back to Brissie.

And let’s not forget Lady O herself, with a group from Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure, finding out about the pleasures of Byron Bay as part of their New South Wales itinerary.

Local Arts Organisations:

Byron Bay International Film Festival has morphed from an Australian to a truly international film festival.

Nothern Rivers ScreenWorks is the screen industry gateway for the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, serving creative practitioners in the film, television, video, and digital media sectors.

Arts Northern Rivers is the peak body for the arts and cultural sector in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Flickerfest International Short Film Festival is Australia’s only Academy Accredited Short Film Festival screening the best of new and cutting edge short films from Australia and the world.

Introduction to Ballina, New South Wales

It’s no surprise that this region, with more than 250 days of sunshine each year on average, and its year round mild and subtropical climate, is one of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations.

Bicycle paths, Ballina NSW

In Ballina, a wide variety of accomodation including apartments, resorts, caravan parks, motels, motor inns, B&Bs, and extensive walking and bicycling paths around the town, make it a great family holiday destination.  >> More info.

By road, Ballina is approximately 753 kilometres – about 10 hours drive north from Sydney, and approximately 197 kilometres – about 120 minutes drive south of Brisbane, via the Pacific Highway.

If you prefer flying, Ballina/Byron Gateway Airport is the southern gateway to Northern New South Wales, with domestic flights from all major Australian cities, while a number of international carriers servicing SE Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific fly directly into Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta, 60 minutes drive to the north.

Daily airport shuttle services operate between Ballina, Gold Coast Airport and Brisbane International Airport for domestic and international flights.

Intrastate flights are also available to Lismore Airport, with all airports having airport car hire or other car rental services available nearby.

Daily interstate coach services are available from Ballina to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, with a daily or overnight train service from Sydney to Brisbane via coach transfer at Casino.

For more information visit the Big Volcano Visitor Guide: Ballina